A Place to Share for Writers and Teachers
Certainly a principal is in a perfect position to provide leadership, and the lack of good leadership in a principal can have sad and serious results on the teachers and the students. But teachers, too, can be leaders in their schools, districts, and beyond. Teachers who share their effective practices, collaborate, in their buildings, in workshops, conferences, and in forums such as this are educational leaders.
Barry asks, if some teachers are "waiting for the system to tell them to have fun with kids before they will feel free to do it." Fun is a very fungible term, and highly misunderstood by some. Injecting humor into classrooms is a wonderful relief from the hard work that is often required, but fun can result from very serious engagement in difficult tasks. Kids have fun when they are successful, when they can celebrate their efforts. Of course they have fun running around screaming, too.
When you talk about 'the system' however, and I suppose there are many different systems in place, you also have to recognize that many teachers came to teaching because they loved school, they are rule followers, and they are not at all comfortable 'disobeying' the edicts of the state, district, or principal, even when they disagree. So it's very complicated for some teachers to follow their own best professional judgment when it conflicts with the 'powers that be'.
That is where teacher leadership and collegiality can give another teacher the support to find ways of negotiating a professional path through those kinds of dilemmas.
Do you think that teachers who blame the system have a legitimate gripe or are they just allowing themselves to be told how to teach. Are they, for example, waiting for the system to tell them to have fun with kids before they will feel free to do it?
Patricia Garrard said:I am inspired by all of you and what you say. I am preparing to retire after 30 years but am looking to have some fun and create an interest in writing when I move to my new home. I so agree that an educational leader creates a community of learners whether teachers or kids. I am mostly frustrated with my teachers who are frustrated with the system and have lost their enthusiasm to have fun with kids. Lets keep the faith and discover writing and fun in learning.